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NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program Review NIOSH Publications on Noise and Hearing The National Academies - Advisors to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

What is the Hearing Loss Program

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Output Summary

Program outputs take many forms. They include scientific reports such as peer-reviewed journal articles, NIOSH technical reports, meeting presentations, book chapters, and review articles. Scientific publications are essential to advancement of the body of knowledge on occupational hearing loss, maintenance of the NIOSH research program’s credibility, and provision of bases of support for NIOSH recommendations on hearing loss. Another type of output is recommendations of many types, from the more general and extensive criteria documents, to less extensive NIOSH Alerts, to the case study format of HHE reports, and support of conferences and best-practice workshops. Among the most successful of these outputs are “Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss-A Practical Guide,” “Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure Revised Criteria 1998,” and “The NIOSH Compendium of Hearing Protection Devices.”[16],[17] Since the program develops and evaluates tools, methods and technologies, another class of outputs is documentation of inventions, patents, and new methods. Examples include task-based exposure assessment methods, new worker training techniques, and plastic-coated flight bars on continuous mining machines.

In the last ten years, the HLR program has supported research that has led to more than 100 scientific publications, which are listed at the end of the section on each major research goal. Among the most influential we count:

In cooperation with the NIOSH OHC, we strive to balance the production of outputs directed towards scientific and regulatory audiences with products geared to other audiences such as manufacturers, employers, and workers. These latter products translate scientific information into easily understood material that meets these audiences’ needs. The HLR program devotes substantial resources to the planning and production of information products for non-scientists because the OHC has a decentralized structure for these communications efforts, using research and support staff in the divisions where the research is generated (see Appendix D).   The process of generating products that effectively transfers scientific outputs to customers who can use them has been a part of the HLR program for a long time, as evidenced by the production of the Hearing Protector Compendium and the Practical Guide fifteen to twenty years ago. But this aspect of the program has been enhanced in both emphasis and resources by the recent addition of the r2p program in the ORTT. The r2p program has increased the Institute emphasis on the transfer efforts in a way that challenges the HLR staff to be more proactive in this aspect of our work. In addition, the ORTT (which leads the r2p program) provides leadership, skills and assistance to help HLR program researchers to be more effective in the transfer of our outputs to customers. The new emphasis and leadership from the r2p program is expected to improve our rate of progress at successfully moving beyond program outputs toward intermediate outcomes.

Our information products include web pages, pamphlets, videos and external partner briefings and workshops. Most of these materials intended for non-scientists have been developed in recent years and mounted on the NIOSH HLR web site topic pages at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/ and at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/topics/hearingloss/hearingloss.htm.

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[16] NIOSH [1994]. The NIOSH compendium of hearing protection devices.  Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-105.

[17] NIOSH web-based hearing protector compendium. [http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/hpcomp.html].

[18] Royster JD, Berger EH, Merry CJ, Nixon CW, Franks JR, Behar A, Casali JG, Dixon-Ernst C, Kieper RW, Mozo BT, Ohlin D, Royster LH [1996]. Development of a new standard laboratory protocol for estimating the field attenuation of hearing protection devices. Part I. Research of Working Group 11, Accredited Standards Committee S12, Noise. J Acoust Soc Am 99, 1506–1526. 

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